While Ballarat donned their shorts, thongs and sunnies for the Christmas heatwave, a talented troupe of performers decided traditional Shakespearean dresses were a better option.
OzAct’s Much Ado About Nothing cast sweltered through two shows at Kirks Resorvoir Park this week in 36 degree celcius heat.
Backstage icy poles were in large supply.
Co-director and actor Matt Young admitted there was “always a few layers” to the costumes, which made things stickier on hot days, as an outdoor theatre company they had to be prepared for all weather.
“We take precautions: we stay well hydrated, there’s water spray bottles backstage, and we’re covered in sunscreen and Aeroguard, all the works,” he said.
“The flipside to that is that because we perform in Autumn as well, we get rain, thunderstorms. We try not to call off the show unless its really coming down.
“We know its time to call off the show when the audience starts running for cover!”
OzAct has been performing at the reservoir for 11 years, after forming in 1995. Every year on December 26 and 27, they perform a William Shakespeare play just outside Ballarat in the lush gardens.
Actress Sorcha Breen, who performs as Beatrice in the production, said when it comes to the penetrating head, “after a while you just surrender yourself to it”.
“You’ve just got to remind yourself the heat is not permanent,” she said. “Because you’re so aware you’ve got the additional challenge of the heat, you’re even more conscious and present than you would otherwise be. You up your game a bit.”
“(Beatrice) is quite a trailblazer for the time because she’s quite outspoken … it’s about the battle between the sexes.
“It holds a mirror up to the past about the pressures women were under to be chaste and obedient. It just makes us think about how far we’ve come.”